We were warned all about the struggles to getting sleep with a newborn but never did we think it would impact our quality of life so much. Have you found yourself so deeply invested in your baby’s sleep that your days revolve around wake windows, and researching the best swaddle in hopes of getting you just a few more minutes of precious shut eye? Oh, me too. Now as a twin mom and postpartum mental health therapist, I am going to share with you some simple tips to help maximize YOUR sleep in this postpartum season.
1. Prep for your Night of Sleep with your Newborn
Preparing for your evening mentally and physically can save you precious minutes that you would rather be sleeping. Physically prep your room for all the things you could possibly need for night wakings. Plenty of water for a breastfeeding mom, extra changes of clothes. I always double wrapped my baby’s crib, with 2 fitted sheets and a protective pad in-between. If you have a blow out at 2 am, just removed the soiled layer and deal with it in the morning! Don’t forget about basic sleep habits like avoiding blue light, keeping lights dark, and utilizing sound machines. Mentally prepare yourself for sleep with a newborn baby by having a calming before bed routine. This should be for baby and you. Don’t forget about you! A skin care routine, a warm bath, a change into cozy pjs will get you ready for restorative sleep.
2. Stop the Anxiety Spiral about Sleep
I struggled deeply with insomnia and anxious thoughts late at night in the postpartum season. I would lay in bed during my precious time to sleep with my newborn baby and stress out over how tired I would be the following day. You can consciously stop this spiral by repeating the affirmation “Resting my body is still restorative, even if I am not sleeping”. I would also schedule in time the following day for a nap. I highly recommend dedicating one nap during the day to sleeping with a newborn baby. We often feel pressure to use this time to get things done, but have just one nap planned can do so much for your mental health late at night. Other options can include using mediation apps, or mindfulness practices can be helpful to stop the anxiety spiral late at night.
3. Make a Sleep Schedule with Your Partner
Every family is different. You will have different needs when it comes to what sleep schedule will work for your life with a newborn. Look at factors like who naturally stays up later, who is a light sleeper, or who has specific needs the following day to have a plan that can provide both partners with quality sleep. Maximizing the quality of sleep may feel easier than increasing the quantity of sleep with a newborn baby. Even if you are breastfeeding, going to bed alone before the rest of the family can do wonders to your mindset. For more tips on how to craft this schedule, read about my 6 Tips to Customizing Your Sleep Schedule.
The biggest mistake I see my families fall into is not consistently revisiting and changing their night routine. Think about how rapidly your newborn is growing and developing. This means that a plan that worked 3 weeks ago may bee completely irrelevant now. Check in constantly with your partner about what is working and what is not working. Feel free edit, change, or just try something new. If you are struggling postpartum and interested in additional support learn more about working with Ashley. If you are in need of emergency support call the Postpartum Support Hotline or Emergency Services in your area.